>The Greatest Villain Of Them All

>Obama’s victory on Tuesday has had me alternating between being euphoric and scatterbrained, both often at the same time, but life is slowly starting to return to normal – especially since I just got my confirmation e-mail letting me know that my Amazon’d copy of Gears of War 2 should arrive at my office tomorrow afternoon.

I didn’t expect to be this jazzed about GoW2; frankly, I expected to be waist-deep in Fallout 3 and only put in Gears as a change of pace. But I’ve been getting that half-glazed look in my eye whenever I think about it, and I’m starting to foam at the mouth a little.

Anyway. This post is not about that. This post is about the forthcoming Sega Collection that’s dropping in the spring. I’ve written a bunch of times about my fondness for the Sega Genesis, and of my memories of playing Streets of Rage and Golden Axe with my younger brother. This collection is pretty robust, and apparently there might be even more games on the disc than just the 40 listed.

One notable omission, though, is Road Rash 2. Granted, it’s not a Sega first-party title, so it wouldn’t be on this disc, but it’s a game that I very closely associate with the Genesis. It was a motorbike racing/combat game, and my brother and I were very much obsessed with it.

In fact, here’s an IM conversation I just had with my brother about it:

Jonathan: Road Rash!

i loved that game

Jeremy: what was the name of the evil opponent, who was always a pain in the ass to take down?

Victor?
Venom?
something with a V

Jonathan: Viper

Jeremy: VIPER

holy christ

Jonathan: that fucker

Jeremy: i hated that asshole

Road Rash featured whatever it was that passed for rubberbanding AI in those days, and Viper was basically the AI at its most evil. Viper was always the rider you’d be dealing with the most in the latter stages of each race; Viper would hit you with chains and knock into you and always be right on your ass, and if you ever successfully knocked him off his bike, you pretty much guaranteed yourself a stress-free cross of the finish line.

And what I love about it is that Viper had no face, no voice, no memorable lines of dialogue in the pre- and post-race flash screens, not even a discernable gender; Viper was just the AI opponent who was the biggest pain in the ass to beat, and we assigned him the worst qualities of humanity we could think of as reason enough to destroy him.

I love that even now, 20 years later, the fire of our hatred still burns for this nameless, voiceless enemy.



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